Prototype 12 Gauge Shotshell Filler Wad/Overshot Card Punch

Prototype 12 Gauge Shotshell Filler Wad/Overshot Card Punch

If you’ve been reading my articles for any length of time, you probably know I load a lot of shotgun shells using Lyman and other published data.  Over the years I’ve also developed a large number of custom loads, many of which require filler wads or overshot cards to get the correct shot column and a good crimp.  Although these aren’t the most expensive components on the market, they still add up, particularly if you need several per shell.  To make matters worse, they’re often difficult to find, particularly if your local gun store stops stocking the brands you’re accustomed to.

With this in mind I’ve designed and manufactured my own custom punch for producing 12 gauge filler wads and overshot cards.  The model shown in the video above represents my prototype, which I’ve been using and testing for quite a while now.

In this article I’ll be introducing you to the design, and explaining how it works.

Construction

Beginning with construction you’ll note it’s composed of just two parts; a die and punch.  The die is made from stainless steel so that it won’t rust or corrode, while the punch is hardened tool steel that’s rigid enough to remain perfectly straight, and maintain an edge.

I also specifically designed this punch to fit in standard Lee reloading presses to help keep the cost low, and better utilize the equipment I’ve already got.

Installation

To install this tool, we simply insert the punch into the press’s ram, raising it up to it’s maximum height. Next we’ll thread the die in place overtop; this helps keep things aligned properly.

Operation

Operation is likewise extremely simple.  If you check out the video above, you’ll see there’s a slot cut in the side to allow a multitude of different materials to be fed.  So far I’ve used cardboard and vegetable fiber, in the future I’ll likely try cork as well.

With the material in place it’s a simple matter of operating the press handle, and punching filler wads. Each one comes out the exact internal diameter of a standard 12 gauge shotshell wad.  If I need to produce a lot and don’t want to make a mess, I just place a margarine container with a hole in the bottom onto the nozzle at the top of the die, and punch as many as I need.

Summary

With a good supply of these on hand, it’s no trouble at all to customize my shot columns by placing them above or below my shot or slugs.  Likewise, if I’ve got a difficult load to crimp well, like low-volume birdshot or roundball slugs, adding one to the top as an overshot card makes things a snap.

I’m really happy with how my punch turned out, and already working on designs for a 20G model.  If things go well I may try some others like a 410, 16 or 28 gauge.

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